The United States Justice Department (DOJ) is going head to head with Arizona and its Governor, Republican Doug Ducey, trying to thwart the state’s ability to defend itself. The government’s DOJ maintains that a makeshift border wall allowed in Arizona constructed out of shipping containers is illegal.
Ducey approved of hundreds of shipping containers to be double-stacked along the border with Mexico in order to provide security to the state and its residents who are suffering due to the record breaking number of migrants crossing the border daily.
“Arizona is going to do the job that Joe Biden refuses to do — secure the border in any way we can.” Ducey said in announcing the lawsuit last month. “We’re not backing down.”
Ironically, the DOJ’s claims are exactly what Ducey was trying to protect against. The suit requests damages for the state’s “unlawful trespasses” and asks for “a declaration that Arizona’s use and occupancy of lands owned by the United States without the required permits or other authorization constitutes unlawful trespasses.”
“Unlawful trespass” and “authorization” is exactly what Ducey is protecting Arizona and its citizens from. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for Arizona on Wednesday on behalf of the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Interior.
In an email obtained by the Arizona Republic, the Justice Department Office of Legislative Affairs said that “the state’s actions have substantially curtailed federal law enforcement personnel from freely accessing the border area, and Arizona’s placement of armed guards on federal land risks putting federal law enforcement officials in danger.”
“Arizona’s actions have also stymied federal efforts to complete construction of border infrastructure projects in certain locations,” the email adds.
Ducey’s border wall project began this summer in Yuma, a popular crossing point where containers filled gaps in former president Donald Trump’s border wall. Now, crews have begun focusing on San Rafael Valley, an area of the border that does not see many border crossings, according to the Associated Press.
The initial project in Yuma cost about $6 million and required eleven days of work to erect 130 containers to secure some 3,800 feet.
The new work, which will use up to 3,000 containers to secure ten miles in Cochise County, is costing the state $95 million. The new wall has gaps of several hundred yards in some areas due to steep terrain.
A spokesman for Governor Ducey celebrated the news that “we got the federal government to do their job.” C.J. Karamargin said, “The shipping containers were always a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.”
“From our perspective, the shipping container mission is a success. Not only have we plugged gaps in the border barrier, but we got the federal government to do their job” concluded Karamargin.
According to the Arizona Republic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is set to fill gaps on the border near Yuma with temporary mesh fencing and vehicle gates beginning in January.